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World Snooker secures Royal London Watches for Grand Prix

LONDON - World Snooker has secured a three-year deal with Royal London Watches to sponsor one of its key events, the Grand Prix.

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The event, which has been renamed the Royal London Watches Grand Prix, is one of the sport's world ranking events and only one of four to be part of a television deal with BBC Sport.

According to World Snooker, the sport's governing body, the agreement involves a seven-figure investment in the sport by Royal London Watches over the three years.

This year's event takes place from October 21-29 at the Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre, and among those competing will be defending champion John Higgins and world number one seed Stephen Hendry.

David Stokes, Royal London Watches sales director, said: "Royal London Watches is extremely pleased and proud to be associated with such a high-profile sport. We feel snooker reaches out to everyone and is a sport that most people can play and enjoy."

He added that to coincide with this year's tournament the firm is to launch the first official licensed world snooker watch.

This latest sponsorship deal comes as a welcome development for snooker, which has been left reeling in recent years by the ban on tobacco advertising in sport.

Sir Rodney Walker, World Snooker chairman, said: "This is an exciting time for snooker and this key deal is a further example that the sport is making vital progress away from the table.

"One of our central goals is establishing major headline sponsors for each of our BBC tournaments and we are well on the way to achieving that ambition with further announcements expected soon."

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